There was a report that I
received from three 'sources,' a gentleman, a waiter, and a frivolous playboy.
It was a report about the imminent Russian invasion.
Trotsky allegedly was preparing to lead one million Bolsheviks into Germany,
with the aim of reducing it to ashes and driving his Moscow hordes into
France. Germany did not have an army to stop the victorious Trotsky, and
the Allies, assembled at Versailles to dictate peace
terms to Germany, were risking self-destruction by disarming this country.
Germany was the only bulwark of defence against attempts by the East to
There were two things that
puzzled me about this story. First, the fact that not even the Germans
who related it to me believed it. They passed on this story in a casual
and waggish manner, like charlatans who have been seen through. They did
not even pretend to believe it. They repeated it cheerfully, hopefully
and sarcastically. It was their last weapon against the victorious Allies.
The second thing that puzzled
me was that it seemed as though everyone outside Europe believed the story.
For instance, my editors at the Daily News foreign news service, Charles
Dennis in Chicago and Edgar Price Bell in London. They asked me to send
reports on the Germans' fears of the forthcoming Russian invasion. It would
seem that the Allied statesmen in Paris also believed in it. American spies
in Berlin, who were gathering information for military intelligence, sent
reports about Trotsky and his Bolsheviks, who were supposedly poised to
swoop down on the continent.
I did not send a report on
this topic, as I had been asked to do. I sent private reports to Dennis
and Smith trying to persuade them that the Bolshevik
invasion was nothing other than German propaganda. My knowledge
was incomplete; my political acumen virtually nil, and my sources of information
at that time were limited to drug addicts, nymphomaniaes, and a waiter.
But the lie about Russia was so obvious that it stood out like a beacon
in the fog.
I did not report on it but
others did, and the lie snowballed and became the idee fixe of the Allied
world, part of which had been infected by the German injection and the
other part - as is typical of capitalism - by fear of the Marxist spectre
which threatened their profits. This lie, which Berlin
had spread so casually and cynically, led to a revival of the German infantry,
German tanks, the German Luftwaffe, and, in the end, a continuation of
the first war under the name of - the Second World War.